How Long Gone: Cool Brands & Cringe Brands

Cool Brands

Le Crueset, Venmo, Tesla, Alison Roman, Caroline Calloway, Puffin Cereal, Rimowa, Globetrotter, Stussy, sweetgreen, Kacey Musgraves, Barry’s, Grailed, Converse, The Smiths, Dua Lipa, Drake, Diplo, Tyler Brûlé, Erewhon, Suki Waterhouse, Oasis, GQ, President’s Choice, Uniqlo etc.

Cringe Brands

Outdoor Voices, Joe Rogan, Chrissy Teigen, Patreon, Stevia, Game of Thrones, Marvel, Chris D’Elia, Marc Maron, Criterion Collection, Death Cab for Cutie, Samsung, Miranda July, Community, Logan Paul, Next Door, Under Oath, Charlamagne tha God, J Cole, SUGARFISH, Deftones, Kendrick Lamar, Costco etc.

Ambiguous Brands (Hosts Divided, A Cool Brand Downgraded)

NIN, Nirvana, Marie Kondo, The Office, Louis CK, Mad Happy, Jerry Saltz, Morrissey, The Weeknd, Monocle etc.

FORREC: Toronto’s Fantasy Factory

  • FORREC planned and designed Canada’s Wonderland (opened in 1981). The first huge theme park in the countries’ history.
  • It’s all about “visitor experience”. People are shopping to forget their problems and watching Netflix in their basements then get together and share experiences/”moments”.
  • There were amusement parks before Disney but today it’s about branded parks. Universal Studios, Legoland: people want to see and feel the brands. Disney Carnival Cruises is a huge market.
  • Canada’s Wonderland would not be built today, now it’s about integrated developments (“a destination, “a place to go” “mixed use” “retailtainment”).
  • As shopping changes its about finding ways to draw people in.
  • FORREC did Expo 67 (some pavilions). At the time FORREC was a landscape architecture company (did Ryerson, Eaton Centre etc.). Clients said “can you do this?” and we said “why not?”. We do wayfinding, creative, graphic design etc.
  • Question: what about Toronto gives you the edge? Answer: there are 28 languages spoken in our office. FORREC has 140 employees in Toronto. “We’re Canadian” (we care, listen, are thoughtful, respectful etc.). There’s an office in Shanghai (offices in USA -Orlando/LA- as well but more for business development).
  • FORREC has done projects in Vietnam, Korea, Dubai (it’s handy to have employees from there who understand cultural subtleties). It doesn’t matter if people have a license to work here or not because we’re working globally.
  • We’re more global, not really known locally and that makes recruiting people a challenge.
  • We’re not focused on awards rather servicing clients
  • Did a project for AS Roma (client was googling around for designers) to build a football stadium.
  • What we’re really strong at is mixed-use developments (single use doesn’t make sense revenue wise). RDE: retail, dining, entertainment. “Retailtainment” experience.
  • A major consideration: how do you engage people? How do you handle crowds and keep them there. People don’t come for just one thing, it’s about having multiple aspects.
  • We’re working on Legoland Shenzhen (just across causeway from Hong Kong). We did Legoland Germany. Legoland now integrates resorts.
  • FORREC services the project from end to end as the design people and deals with speciality consultants. Random example of complexity: the necessity of having no variance in the electric current when dealing with screens.
  • You have three clients: developer, brand and end user.
  • In China they are scared their culture is a disappearing so have to be more culturally sensitive. There’s this dichotomy around western brands: they want them but you have incorporate the local aspect and it’s tricky because the brands want to be true to themselves. In China they have large integrated visions.
  • Our industry is different, it’s not just matter if creating a commercial centre as there are special considerations. We get hired to do visioning. The feasibility study is where projects live or die.